We took the Monster to a friend’s birthday party yesterday…
We have a number of friends who have children the same age as the Monster, and make sure to include our child along with their children’s friends, even if the Monster isn’t quite necessarily in a ‘friend’ mode.
Birthday parties are difficult, if only because the Monster isn’t at the same place socially as his NT peers. He doesn’t talk about any friends he has at school, he doesn’t quite play with other children, and if he has any interest in something specific for his own birthday party, he’s not spoken of it.
Now, the party yesterday was a pool party. The Monster loves the water, so this was fairly easy to get him in a mode to go… and he was very good (for him). He spent much of the way there asking when it would be time to go swimming, and then once there, he was cooperative about getting ready to go in the water. We even managed to convince him to play along with the other kids for the first (and only) organized game of the evening. Of course, this then degenerated into the usual four-and-five-year-old in-the-water-melee that one expects at a pool party, and he was mostly good about staying in water where he could stand and not attempt to drown himself. (I can’t say so much for some of his NT peers.)
After the pool, we had food and cake. Getting the Monster to eat pizza is not a challenge, and he was very good about both the food and the juice boxes. He was fabulous – honestly, he was – with not smashing the cake or trying to eat it with his fingers, but rather with using a fork properly to get it into his mouth, with minimal mess on his face from the frosting.. and let’s be honest, how many of us don’t get any frosting on our faces while eating birthday cake?
What I spent much of the evening laughing about is that… the Monster was better behaved than some of the NT kids with regards to the cake. The Monster loves birthday cake. He’ll spend weeks asking for not just cake, but birthday cake specifically. He’s happy to just get a piece. On the other hand, there were a gaggle of the kids at this party who didn’t just want a slice of cake, but a specific slice of cake. (It was, to be fair, a pretty neat pirate-themed cake.) This one wanted part of the treasure. This one wanted the X that marked the spot. This one wanted specific letters on their piece from the ‘Happy Birthday’ message… and there was the Monster off in his seat, happily eating the piece he was given.
Now we just have to plan his party, still two months off…